Football fans, what would you think about a league stretching from Jefferson City to Springfield (Ill.)?
If you’re a Borgia football fan, that could be your future.
Will Johnson, sports editor of the Gasconade County Repulican, pointed out an article by David Adam appearing in the Quincy Herald-Whig, officials of the Archdiocesan Athletic Association are looking at potentially forming a mega-conference for football only.
Adam’s article is from the standpoint of Quincy (Ill.) Notre Dame, which would be one of the new teams.
The article claims that the formation of this league would be the merger of the AAA and the Metro League, which includes John Burroughs, Lutheran North, Lutheran South, Principia, Priory and Westminster Christian.
It also indicates that other schools being targeted for inclusion are St. Pius (Festus), Ste. Genevieve Valle, Perryville St. Vincent, Missouri Military Academy and Central Home School.
In Illinois, the potential teams would be Quincy Notre Dame, Belleville Althoff, Alton Marquette, Mater Dei (Breese), Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin and Metro-East Lutheran.
The proposed league would be split into four divisions based upon enrollment and “past football success.”
While this might be a great idea for competition, here’s why it won’t work.
Geography hasn’t been listed as one of the division alignment criteria. Borgia fans haven’t even made a single trip to Jefferson City or Columbia yet as part of next year’s AAA Large lineup. That also includes adding Cardinal Ritter and subtracting Duchesne and O’Fallon Christian. This league will run from Columbia to South St. Louis and South St. Louis County (Notre Dame).
Imagine having to make road trips to Jefferson City, Columbia, Quincy and Springfield, Ill., all in the same football season? Even the “close” games will be about an hour on the road for fans driving at highway speeds. It will be longer for the kids riding on buses.
And those buses need gas to move and maintenance to keep them safe. Ask Ken Feldmann about how much maintenance is needed to make sure Borgia’s teams get where they need to go safely.
One needs to remember that none of the schools for the proposed league is a public school. None get tax money to make the ends meet and all would have to raise the funds to be able to make the long trips for the new league to take place. And that says nothing about how many times the players and support personnel would have to leave extra early on Fridays.
While the new league would be exciting to see how some traditionally strong teams would do against each other, logistically the proposed league might not be feasible.
At this point, it would be more prudent to say no to this proposal.
Conference rumors are nothing new. The popular one in recent years is that Washington is coming back to the Four Rivers Conference. I can’t see that happening. Washington seems to be a good fit in the Gateway Athletic Conference. The schools are about the same size and provide good competition in most sports. Over the years, I think the quality of competition in the GAC has helped Washington’s teams and individual athletes in many different sports achieve that
Adding Washington back to the Four Rivers Conference wouldn’t benefit anybody. Washington is in the biggest class in many sports. If Washington would win in the FRC, it would be expected to do so. Any loss would be seen as an upset.
Rolla applied to join the FRC several years back and the league members wisely denied that request. Right now, the FRC has good parity with the current members.
I’ve heard that there have been suggestions to add in schools here or there, but nothing has ever come of it. Cuba or Bourbon would be natural additions as they’re the right size and located between Sullivan and St. James. They’re both members of the Gasconade Valley Conference, which couldn’t afford to lose them.
Cuba is the only Gasconade Valley school to offer football. If an arrangement could be figured out to have Cuba play FRC football, that might work out. However, most solutions which include Cuba coming into the league include a split into two divisions, so there would have to be more than just one school entering the league.
It’s more likely that the status quo will remain in place in the FRC under the adage of “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”
Two other Franklin County schools, Crosspoint Christian School and The Fulton School (St. Albans) are members of the Metro Athletic Conference, consisting mainly of members of the Missouri Christian School Athletic Association. They’re MSHSAA affiliate members as they have to be to play the full MSHSAA members in their conference, such as The Fulton School. Neither school fields football teams, so the MAC is a good fit for them. Small enrollments probably would keep them from adding football at any time in the foreseeable future.
In conclusion, most leagues are good as-is. As for the proposed super league, let’s see how the new AAA works out before we start trying to build the high school equivalent of a college conference.